Mercedes-Benz SLK AMG Sport Line - Power Made Apparent
The SLK has always been eye-catching, with its long nose and short overhang emphasising that it is a true roadster. Now, with its new vario-roof, it looks even sportier and more stylish. To top it all, with all its efficient fuel derivatives, it becomes an everyday car even in the SLK AMG Sport Line format.
The AMG Sport Line is not only more fashionable, but also looks much more muscular as a result of its prominent body panels and its headlights with dark surrounds. Visually, the back, with its dark, tinted tail-lights, is also much more appealing. As always, the interior is top of the class with its colour-coded topstitching on the seats and their vertical fluting. Customers can, at no extra charge, further enhance the interior by way of contrast-stitching, red seat belts, and perforated leather in the grip area of the steering wheel. A sporty instrument cluster in a ‘chequered flag’ design, black velour floor mats with red piping, and an AMG logo round off the exclusive interior of the AMG Sport Line.
The beauty of the new SLK range is the AMG Sport Line, and especially the SLK 250 BlueEFFICIENCY model with its additional power that we raced at Kyalami racetrack to acquaint ourselves with its performance, braking and roadholding attributes. The 250 SLK AMG Sport Line truly excelled in all of these areas, particularly when I drove off the track with two wheels on the grass and two wheels on the tar and then braked hard from 120kph. The SLK behaved magnificently and remained within the parameters set by the cones for this exercise. There are three direct-injection petrol models available, being the SLK 200 BlueEFFICIENCY, which develops 135kW, the new SLK 250 BlueEFFICIENCY, which develops 150kW, and the SLK 350 V6 BlueEFFICIENCY, which develops 225kW.
The SLK 250 BlueEFFICIENCY is equipped with an automatic transmission as standard and uses only 7.3 litres (New European Driving Cycle [NEDC], combined) per 100 kilometres (169g of CO2 per kilometre). From standstill, it reaches 100km/h in 6.6 seconds and has a top speed of 243km/h. “The four-cylinder engines for the SLK are homogeneous direct injection and turbo-charged, leading to advantages such as lower weight and reduced in-engine friction. “The four-cylinder roadsters, the SLK 200 BlueEFFICIENCY and the SLK 250 BlueEFFICIENCY, are also equipped with the AMG Sport Line that expresses their special character acoustically – with an even sportier engine sound,” says Selvin Govender, Divisional Manager: Marketing, Mercedes-Benz Cars.
Mercedes has always led automotive innovations, and the SLK is no exception. In 1996, the first-generation SLK caused a sensation with its vario-roof, which transformed the wide-open roadster into a coupé with a fixed roof at the touch of a button in just a few seconds. The second generation saw the AIRSCARF heating the occupants around the neck and shoulders, which made open-top motoring possible in cooler temperatures. Now, the third generation offers a choice between three variants of the much-imitated vario-roof. The transparent panoramic vario-roof with MAGIC SKY CONTROL can be switched to light or dark. Alternatively, the vario-roof is available in painted or tinted glass versions.
Mercedes is also known for having a spectacular list of standard equipment as well as optional extras. The new SLK’s list of standard equipment is impressive and includes: new-generation four- and six-cylinder motors; adaptive (pulsing) brake lights; ATTENTION ASSIST; and audio with 5.8-inch colour display, Bluetooth hands-free system, central head unit and USB connection. Move to the safety aspects and you find: NECK-PRO head restraints; an electric parking brake (EPB); headbags in the doors; an intelligent light system with bi-xenon (standard on the SLK 350); a boot with a reversible floor; a tyre pressure loss warning system; 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission in the SLK 250 BlueEFFICIENCY and SLK 350 BlueEFFICIENCY; as well as other standard equipment like air conditioning, daytime running lights and PRE-SAFE®, to mention but a few.
Optional extras include: ambient lighting with colour tone ‘SOLAR red’; illuminated door-sill panels; COMAND Online with Internet access, 7-inch colour display and central controller; DISTRONIC PLUS, including PRE-SAFE® Brake; a Dynamic Handling package with adaptive damping, Torque Vectoring Brake and Direct-Steer system (SLK 350 BlueEFFICIENCY only); KEYLESS-GO; PARKTRONIC with Parking Guidance; panoramic vario-roof – tinted; panoramic vario-roof with MAGIC SKY CONTROL (switchable transparency); AIRGUIDE draught-stop; AMG carbon fibre trim; and Harmon Kardon surround sound.
As with all Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, the SLK AMG Sport Line comes standard with the class-leading PremiumDrive maintenance package of 6 years/100 000km, with no customer contribution.
SLK 200 BlueEFFICIENCY R579 238
SLK 250 BlueEFFICIENCY R635 811
SLK 350 BlueEFFICIENCY R763 673
We also drove the SLK 250s on the road to a lovely lunch prepared for us at Lombardy Restaurant in the East of Pretoria. Testing a car under everyday road conditions such as these also gives one a better idea of its potential and shortcomings. In all aspects, the new SLK is much more refined, and, on the road, the suspension ensures a comfortable ride, while its power is enough to make overtaking slower vehicles a safe manoeuvre. However, I am still not able to put my golf bag in the boot and thus have it next to me on the front passenger seat – and, just to confuse people, I put a cap on top of the bag, which ensures a laugh from passersby. The SLK with the new SLK 250 Blue EFFICIENCY rounds off the model nicely, although it has been mentioned that it should perhaps have replaced the less powerful SLK 200.
OUT OF OFFICE | CAR REVIEW
by Carl Wepener
* Prices as at date of publishing